Green: Convention’s vote to sever ties with Fort Worth church over gay members is ‘malicious’ example of ‘narrow-minded bigotry’
FORT WORTH — The Southern Baptist Convention’s decision this week to sever ties with Broadway Baptist Church over its acceptance of gays was "groundless and malicious" and an example of "narrow-minded bigotry," according to Scott Green, the only openly gay member of the congregation who’s commented publicly about the decision.
In an e-mail sent exclusively to Dallas Voice on Wednesday, June 24, Green added that the SBC "plays with people’s lives more than they know."
Delegates to the SBC’s annual meeting in Louisville, Ky., voted a day earlier to terminate the denomination’s relationship with Broadway Baptist, on grounds the church violated an article in the SBC constitution banning congregations that "affirm, approve or endorse homosexual behavior."
The SBC’s investigation and ouster of Broadway Baptist stemmed from a recent debate at the 127-year-old, 2,000-member congregation about whether to include photos of gay couples in a church directory.
"I, along with Broadway Baptist Church, am deeply saddened by the events at the Southern Baptist Convention this week in Louisville, " Green said in the e-mail. "Their groundless and malicious actions severely diminish the denomination. They also play with people’s lives in more ways than they know."
Green went on to note that the official theme of this year’s annual SBC meeting in Louisville was, "Love Loud: Actions Speak Louder Than Words."
"Their words have become laughable!" he wrote. "The Broadway that I know and love is full of good, kind and thoughtful individuals. What some forget is that we are all on the same journey. How sad to diminish the workings of God in the world because of narrow-minded bigotry."
Green concluded by saying that despite the SBC’s decision, "we will still move forward with the work of the Church … ministering to the poor and homeless, welcoming everyone that wishes to enter our doors, and spreading the good news of Christ."
The 49-year-old Green, who’s been a member of Broadway Baptist for 20 years, supported a compromise approved by the congregation in
February 2008 after gay couples requested to be pictured together in the directory.
Under the compromise, the directory included "candid, small and large group pictures," but no family photos of either gay or straight couples.
The SBC’s investigation began after last year’s annual meeting, when a pastor from North Carolina made a motion to declare Broadway "not in cooperation" with the convention.
During the investigation, Broadway Baptist leaders reportedly acknowledged that the church has gay members, including some who serve on committees, but denied the congregation had taken steps to "affirm, approve or endorse homosexual behavior."
In a statement released shortly after Tuesday’s vote, Broadway Baptist deacon chair Kathy Madeja reiterated this position. It marked the first time the SBC had expelled a church for being pro-gay despite the fact that the congregation disputed the charge.
"We are disappointed with the decision of the Southern Baptist Convention," Madeja said. "We do not believe Broadway has taken any action which would justify its being deemed not in friendly cooperation with the SBC. It is unfortunate that the Southern Baptist Convention decided otherwise and has severed its affiliation with Broadway Baptist Church."
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 26, 2009.